Category: Food and Drink

One of the best of Grand Rapids: Find your next drinking and dining destination here

Rockwell Republic Drinks

Brunch in a beverage? You can get that at Rockwell Republic on the weekend.

Or guests can roll in for mid-day and end-of-the-night happy hours, an expansive food menu available late into the night and an around-the-clock imaginative lineup of local beer and craft cocktails.

It’s that sort of creativity and desire to cater to customers that has built a dedicated following for the side-by-side bar and restaurant in the Heartside neighborhood of Grand Rapids. The appreciation for the dining and drinking spots, which expanded and then became a centerpiece of the city’s downtown growth for a decade, is obvious.

“The food is Asian American deliciousness,” online reviewer Montana Krukowski wrote.

“If you have friends who can’t agree on what type of cuisine to eat, this is the place to go. Their menu has so much to choose from,” Namchi Do said. Rockwell Republic food

Katie Barcelona wrote: “Great happy hour deals, food and drinks are great and so is the atmosphere. This is one of my go-to places.”

Those responses to guests’ experience are what Jesse Tackett, Rockwell Republic’s general manager for three years, and his staff want to hear.

“We want to be the place that you’re interested in going to every time you go out because you can always do or try something new,” Tackett said. “Our variety is unmatched, from sushi to tacos to a perfectly cooked filet, you’ll find it here.”

Rockwell Republic’s setting is often discussed because of the distinct atmospheres each offers at 45 S. Division Ave. Rockwell’s feel is a lively Chicago-like gastropub, a spot to grab an after-work beer from the 30 tap handles, a handcrafted cocktail or a taste of one of the more than 200 bourbons that are available.

On the building’s other side, Republic’s scene is a wine bar/dinner house vibe where people can relax with a significant other, family and friends or business partners looking to unwind. The extensive wine list adds a something-for-everyone option.

Rockwell Republic sushi roll surf & turfThe restaurants share exposed-brick walls, high ceilings, dark mahogany wood and eclectic lighting that fit either a casual night out or a hit-the-town outing. Rockwell Republic also benefit from the shared second story bar, and a roof-top deck to soak in the urban setting during the warmer months.

Tackett describes Rockwell Republic menu as Pacific Rim inspired with sushi, seafood and share plate choices, but the restaurants achieve a balance with a mouthwatering array of appetizers, sandwiches and entrees. Daily features turnover weekly, and the fare changes seasonally as the chef creates new dishes.

“The idea is to keep the mainstays, but at the same time evolve with something new,” Tackett said. “We keep it fresh.”Rockwell Republic sushi

Now, back to that brunch in a beverage. Rockwell Republic’s “Massive Mary” has reached its legendary status as the best in Grand Rapids by stacking a quartered bacon cheeseburger beside a beer cheese dip filled pretzel bun and a stack of beer-battered onion petals. Positioned in a 32-ounce mason jar with a perfectly prepared Bloody Mary, the drink is the definition of a Saturday or Sunday started right.

“If you haven’t tried it, you need to,” Tackett said. “And once you have had it, you’re going to come back for it.”

Weekends also feature a Bloody Mary bar that guests can create the drink they desire, and the offering is one of the daily specials that draws people to Rockwell Republic.

Other specials include:

  • Daily drink happy hour from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Daily sushi roll and share plates happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Monday: Wine 40% off from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. and live jazz.
  • Tuesday: $6 Rockwell and Republic Original craft cocktails from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Wednesday: $13 pitchers of sangria 3pm-close and 25% off classic cocktails 9 p.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Thursday: $1 off all whiskeys and all draft beers 5 p.m. to close and 50% off martinis 9 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Visit Rockwell Republic online to plan your first or next visit to the best of Grand Rapids has to offer.

 

Mmm! Rich, creamy Mackinac Island fudge. Order now for holiday delivery

Ryba's Fudge Shop

Fudge was being made on Mackinac Island long before Harry Ryba and Victor Callewaert opened their first shop there in 1960. In fact, it was the growing popularity of fudge at Michigan’s favorite summer destination that attracted the Detroit confectioners to the island.

Since Ryba and Callewaert arrived on Mackinac Island, the place has never been the same.

After all, there’s fudge. And then there’s Ryba’s Fudge.

Ryba’s Fudge Shops is where fudge making became a public spectacle that drew people to the front windows of Mackinac Island fudge shops. It’s where tasty new flavors of fudge Ryba's Fudge Shop storefrontwere invented, where fanning the sweet scent of fresh fudge out into the street was pioneered, and where Mackinac Island visitors are still lovingly referred to as “fudgies,” a phrase Harry Ryba coined himself.

No wonder Ryba became known as “Mackinac’s Fudge King.”

“Although Mackinac Island had a well-established reputation for producing quality fudge, it was Ryba who spurred the industry to new heights and created an indelible link between ‘Mackinac’ and ‘Fudge,’” writes Phil Porter, chief curator of Mackinac State Historic Parks, in his book on “Fudge: Mackinac’s Sweet Souvenir.”

Next summer will mark the 75th anniversary of Ryba’s Fudge, and 60 years since the family-owned business brought its Michigan-made treats to Mackinac Island.

Can’t wait until 2020 to get a taste? Go ahead and place an order for Ryba’s Fudge to get delivered from Mackinac Island to your home in time for the holidays.

Here are five ways to bring a taste of Mackinac home for the holidays:

 

If you can’t decide what to try, Ryba’s offers great deals on Holiday Gift Packages that include a little bit of everything. Check out all the options and order now for delivery in time for the holidays!

You can also give a gift card that can be used for Ryba’s Fudge or for shopping, dining, lodging, and merchandise at the family’s other Mackinac Island businesses including the 1852 Grill Room, Ice House BBQ & Bar, Island House Bike Shop, Island House Hotel, Mary’s Bistro Draught House, Pancake House & Grille, Pine Cottage Bed & Breakfast, Seabiscuit Cafe and Starbucks.

It was back in the 1940s that Harry Ryba, who owned a Karmel Korn Shop in Detroit, started making fudge. A few years later he met a teenager who sold newspapers outside his store and hired him to whip up the batches of fudge. Ryba's Fudge Shop, fudge slab being cutVictor Callewaert was planning to become a plumber, like his father, but he married Ryba’s daughter and ended up becoming partners in the fudge business.

Ryba and Callewaert sold fudge at their shop in Detroit and at events and festivals including the Detroit Auto Show. Then, in 1960, they opened their first store on Mackinac Island. Soon, Ryba’s Fudge became the island’s premier fudge.

While other fudge shops used white boxes, Ryba’s started selling fudge in pink boxes and bags that could be seen all over the island. Ryba’s also started giving customers “fudgie” pins with each purchase. Main Street passersby flocked to the front window of Ryba’s shop to watch the dramatic process of fudge making live.

“It’s liquid running all over the slab and it gets thicker and thicker, and all of a sudden you’ve got a loaf,” said Victor Callewaert, now 83, who still makes at least one batch of fudge each year. “It gets people’s attention. It stops them, especially when you’ve got that smell.

“Everybody makes it on the slab, but if you like it creamy ours is the best. All you have to do is taste it. There’s no match for it.”

Place an order and taste for yourself!

Celebrate Beer Week in Michigan’s No. 1 region for craft brewing

Most of the beer brewed in the Traverse City area isn’t available in stores, so you have to go there to check it out. But that’s half the fun of finding a new favorite, right?

With rolling hills traversing the 45th parallel between the insulating waters of Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay, the pinkie finger of Michigan is a natural site for thriving vineyards that dot the countryside.

But wine isn’t the only libation specialty in the Traverse City area. It’s also home to a growing collection of craft breweries, from the Leelanau Peninsula Traverse City Beer Weeksouth along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and inland to the heart of Traverse City itself.

Leelanau, Benzie and Grand Traverse counties all rank among the top five in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula for number of breweries per capita. Plus, neighboring Antrim County, home of Short’s Brewing in Bellaire, produces the most beer per capita of any county in Michigan.

While you can find great craft brews all over the state, the Traverse City area has emerged as a must-visit destination for beer lovers. And fall is a great time to experience the flavors of northern Michigan craft beer, especially during Traverse City Beer Week, Nov. 8-15.

“Beer Week is a really cool time of year where it’s transitioning from fall to winter and you get to be outside still and really experience an Up North feel, and the breweries just enhance that,” said Troy Daily, a beer entrepreneur who partners with the area’s burgeoning beer scene to run events and services including Paddle for Pints, TC Brew Bus, TC Cycle Pub, TC Ale Trail and the Kayak, Bike & Brew.

“It creates a winning combination.”

RELATED: Top 10 things to do this fall in northern Michigan

The Traverse City area is home to 20 microbreweries including Short’s Brewing, which is the largest microbrewer in Michigan. (Only Bell’s Brewing in Kalamazoo and Founders Brewing in Grand Rapids produce more beer, so much that they no longer qualify as microbrewers.)

The region also features Right Brain Brewery in Traverse City and Stormcloud Brewing in Frankfort, both among the 50 largest microbrewers in the state. There’s also Mitten Brewing in Northport, Hop Lot Brewing in Suttons Bay, Lake Ann Brewing in Lake Ann and North Peak Brewing, Monkey Fist Brewing and Mackinaw Brewing in Traverse City. The list goes on.

You can try to visit them all this fall or check a few off your list during an upcoming weekend. Traverse City Beer Week offers a great opportunity to get a broad sampling.

“Beer Week really showcases that Traverse City is a beer destination with a lot of good breweries, not just one,” Daily said. “A lot of the breweries up here aren’t in distribution, so you have to come here in order to get their beer.”

Traverse City Beer Week features several events. Here’s the full schedule, with several highlights:

  • 6th Annual TC Ale Trail IPA Challenge – Who brews the best IPA in Traverse City? This blind taste test from 5:30-10 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, at The Little Fleet will decide. The competition will be judged by 200 beer lovers, and you could be one of them!
  • TCBW Kick Off Pub Crawl – Get Traverse City Beer Week off to a fast start from 6-10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8, by visiting a bunch of breweries right off the bat in downtown Traverse City. Walk your way from one brewery to the next and earn an official Pub Crawl t-shirt by visiting at
    Traverse City Beerd Run

    Photo courtesy of The Great Beerd Run

    least six of the participating locations.

  • 6th Annual Great Beerd Run 5K – Grow a beard (or tie one on) and enjoy on-course beer tastings during an untimed fun run 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at Grand Traverse Resort & Spa. After the race there will be live music and a Best Beard Costume.
  • 2019 Flapjack & Flannel Festival – Wear your flannels and enjoy more than 30 beers from a dozen Traverse City breweries paired with live music, games and, of course, pancakes! Each ticket is good for a couple drinks, one pancake and live music from local bands from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at The Little Fleet.

 

When you go visit any of the Traverse City area’s breweries, go ahead and make a weekend out of it. Or sneak away in the middle of the week to enjoy the beauty of a northern Michigan fall before winter comes.

From scenic drives and roadside markets to incredible trails for hiking and biking, the Traverse City area has tons to do this time of year. Several places to stay are offering special Beer Week lodging packages with discounted rates, and they include a Traverse City logoed fanny pack stuffed with coupons, a Brew Tour Guide and package of pretzels to go with your beer.

Come taste for yourself why the Traverse City area is Michigan’s No. 1 region for craft brewing!

Traverse City Kayaking

Fall is full of opportunities for outdoor recreation in the Traverse City area. Mix in the region’s growing craft beer scene and you have the ingredients for ‘a winning combination’ you don’t want to miss.